C.W. Nevius : sfgate – excerpt
Each year, roughly 2,000 stolen cars are towed off San Francisco’s city streets and stowed at the private Auto Return parking lot. When the police call and say they have found the car, the owner is relieved – until he or she gets to the parking lot.
That’s when a familiar melodrama plays out:
Car owner: “Hi, I’m here to get my car.”
Auto Return: “Certainly. That will be $500.”
Car owner: “WHAT? But my car was STOLEN!”
Auto Return: “Sorry, that’s the law.”
Sadly, that is the law…
Peskin says they fought the idea on several grounds, but lost the debate when supporters insisted that giving a break to car theft victims would be “an unequal application of the law. That we couldn’t take pity on certain people.”
Why not? asks LaBua, who writes a local magazine column as “the parking guru.”
“I think it would be awesome PR,” he says. “We’re the city that cares. You’d say, ‘Hey, your car got stolen, you couldn’t help that. The city isn’t going to charge you.’ I think that would be great for everybody.”
MTA’s Rose says that’s a fine idea. It might even be considered at some point down the road.
“It is something we can talk about in the next parking contract,” he said.
Why wait? Peskin says.
“The response to that is, well, gee, you don’t have to wait until the next contract,” Peskin said. “You could propose it right now.”
Now there’s a thought… (more)
What a concept, rolling back a law that penalizes the victim. Can SFMTA suggest such a kind thing? We shall hold our breaths in anticipation. Better still, send a copy of this article to the Supervisors and ask them to propose it.